MANILA, December 31, 2003  (BULLETIN) THESE young, fine, pretty bowlers are winners in their own right. So itís not surprising for the three of them to succeed collectively.

In the final quarter of 2003, Liza del Rosario, Liza Clutario and Cecille Yap achieved what no other Filipino ó or Asian player for that matter ó have ever done in the last 20 years, bagging in record-breaking fashion the gold medal in the womenís trios of the World Tenpin Bowling (FIQ) Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Two meet records went tumbling down in the wake of the Filipinasí splendid performance.

Hitting a combined 2,062 pinfalls in their final three games, Del Rosario, Clutario and Yap broke the previous mark of 1,954 set by Japan in 1999. Not only that, their 3,797 total in all of six games smashed the old world standard of 3,782 a Korean trio also booked in 1999.

As if those were not enough, Clutario, the youngest among the three at 24, capped the stint by winning the silver medal in the womenís masters and adding a bronze in the womenís all-event.

Their impressive showing had the trio copping third place overall in the womenís class behind England and the United States.

Recognizing that one proud stretch for local bowling in the middle of September, the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) bestows on the three ladies the PSA Presidentís Award come its annual Awards Night at the Manila Pavilion on Jan. 9.

Given to a group or individual who achieved exemplary honor, the bubbly team of the 25-year old Del Rosario, last yearís Asian tenpin singles champion, Clutario and Yap, 25, is only the second recipient of the special award.

The Ateneo Blue Eagles got the award last year after ending a 14-year title drought in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) menís basketball tournament.

Together with boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao and bowling wonder Christian Jan Suarez, named as co-athletes of the year, the womenís bowling squad along with a host of others, will be honored by the countryís oldest media organization in a two-hour rites sponsored by Red Bull and Agfa Colors and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Mayor Lito Atienza, San Miguel Corp. and the Philippine Basketball Association.

No less than President Macapagal-Arroyo and First Gentleman Mike Arroyo are expected to grace the rites to be televised over NBN-4 with amateur cager Alex Compton and Lala Roque as hosts.

Actually, the ladiesí triumph began the ball rolling for Philippine bowling in 2003.

During the FIQ Congress held simultaneously with the week-long meet considered as the Olympics of bowling, Steve Hontiveros, president of the Philippine Bowling Congress (PBC), was elected by acclamation as head of the International Bowling Federation, making him only the third Filipino to head a world sports body after Florencio Campomanes in chess and Lito Puyat in basketball.

Two weeks after that came the biggest catch of all.

Suarez bagged the menís World Cup in Tegucigalpa, Honduras by sweeping Dutchman Marcel van den Bosch in the championship round, making him the first Filipino to win the prestigious title after four-time champion Paeng Nepomuceno.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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